Selling a Car in North Carolina

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Selling a car in North Carolina requires the completion of a signed title and sometimes a bill of sale, both of which must be notarized. Your car will also have to pass an emissions inspection in 22 counties. 
The process for selling a car can seem daunting, but it’s a fairly simple process once you understand what’s required. Each state sets its own policies, so it’s important to do some research beforehand. 
If you are not compliant with your state’s laws, you could be liable for the vehicle—even after it’s out of your possession. 
To make things easier, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has compiled what you need to know about selling a car in North Carolina.   

What you need to sell a car in North Carolina

To sell a car in North Carolina, you’ll be required to complete:
  • North Carolina Certificate of Title (or, if you don’t have one, a duplicate title form)
  • Signatures of the seller, buyer, and lienholder (if applicable), signed in the presence of a notary
  • Bill of sale signed in the presence of a notary
  • Proofs of ownership or transfer of ownership 
  • Odometer certification statement, unless the vehicle is more than 10 years old
  • Damage disclosure statement for cars 5 years old or newer
  • Emissions testing
If there is a lien on the vehicle, you will need to obtain a lien release from your lender once you have completed the terms of the lien. You cannot sell a car with an outstanding lien in North Carolina. 

Getting a pre-sale inspection

Twenty-two counties in North Carolina require cars to pass an emissions inspection before they can be sold. This applies to most vehicles, but there are some exemptions, including: 
  • Cars less than three years old
  • Cars from model year 1995 or older
  • Diesel-operated cars 
Additionally, most cars are required to pass an annual safety inspection, but cars 35 years or older are exempt. 
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Documenting the sale

Once you have identified a buyer, it’s a good idea to complete a bill of sale. Though this is only required if you are selling your car to a dealership, it’s strongly recommended that you complete a bill of sale for your records regardless. The bill of sale should include: 
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Make, model, and year of the car
  • North Carolina Title number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Odometer reading at the time of sale
  • Sale date and price
  • Name and signature of the seller
  • Name and signature of the buyer
If you are selling a car to a dealership, the dealer will provide you with a bill of sale. This will need to be signed in front of a public notary

Signing the title over

To officially transfer ownership of the car, you need to sign the title over to the buyer at a North Carolina DMV
The seller will need to fill out the back of the title, with their name, address, and date of sale. The seller also will have to complete odometer disclosure and damage disclosure documents if required. 
If the title has been lost or stolen, the seller will need to fill out a stolen title application to replace the document. 
Once the seller has completed their portion, the buyer will also have to sign the title with their information and complete a Title Application Form (MVR-1). Both the title and application form will need to be notarized. 

Reporting the sale

To report the sale of a car in North Carolina, the seller needs to fill out this form in the presence of a notary and turn it in at the DMV.  

Finding affordable car insurance 

If you’ve recently purchased a car, you’re going to need the right car insurance policy. The car insurance broker app Jerry compares quotes from over 50 top providers so you can choose a policy that works for you. 
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FAQs about selling a car

Resources such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book can help you figure out what your car is worth so you can determine a fair price based on its make, model, year, and condition.

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